Louis Sachar loves the game of bridge.
When he decided to write a novel about bridge-players, “My publisher, my editor, my wife and my agent all said I was crazy. ‘No one’s going to want to read a book about bridge!’ they told me on more than one occasion.”
Add me to that list.
I gave Sachar’s The Card Turner a good try. You would think there’s a juicy story in there, what with a teenage boy sent off to help his great uncle (who is blind, and rich) play the game. Sullen young whippersnapper learns to appreciate grumpy oldster and all that. But the reader must wade through an awful lot of “Spades: ace, jack, nine, three, two. Hearts: king, nine. Diamonds . . .”
If they had been playing Old Maid, I would not have gotten lost so soon. As it is, I can’t identify a good hand of face cards any more than I can single out edible mushrooms from the certain-death ones.
You are welcome to attempt Sachar’s book for yourself. No doubt you’re way ahead of me in the world of party games.
Meanwhile, we’ve been doing birthday dinners around here. A certain daughter requested our family’s classic birthday meal:
The salad is Dole’s BBQ Ranch Chopped salad, steeped in a tasty dressing and spiked with little fake Fritos. I dreamt of adding a little grilled chicken to the leftovers and wrapping it all up in a tortilla. One day, one day.
Our next birthday dinner was for the young set, the kind that appreciates Ninja Turtle watches that don’t really tell time. They are also too excited to eat their birthday dinners, but that doesn’t mean that the adults can’t enjoy a feast of:
SOUR CREAM CHEESY ENCHILADA CASSEROLE (from 365 Easy One-Dish Meals)
- 1 (10 1/4 oz) can condensed creamy chicken mushroom soup
- 3/4 cup sour cream (lite)
- 2 TB milk
- 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 9 (5 1/4 inch) corn tortillas
- 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 lb. cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
- 1 (2.2 oz) can sliced ripe olives, drained
1. Preheat oven to 350′. Mix together soup, sour cream, milk, chilies, and scallions.
2. Arrange 3 tortillas in bottom of an 11×7-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with half the chicken, then half the red pepper. Sprinkle with a third of the cheese, then top with a third of soup mixture, spreading evenly. Repeat layers. Top with remaining 3 tortillas, olives, remaining soup mixture, and then sprinkle with remaining cheese.
3. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.
BUTTERMILK CORNBREAD which calls for a cast iron skillet, but mine baked up beautifully in a clear glass pan.
It contains a special ingredient that boosts the flavor into the stratosphere. If you’ve got a sweet tooth that quivers for something special, this is the cake to try. Get the recipe in the newsletter, which you can sign up for in the form at the bottom of the page.